NYT Metro Cancels All Print Subscriptions. Let's See What Karma Has to Say About That

The New York Times' metro desk will no longer subscribe to any magazines or newspapers, according to a just-released memo this morning. The NY Observer has the goods. I have sympathy -- better to cut paper than people, of course -- but also one observation.

When I moved to DC to work for Atlantic Media, I subscribed to zero magazines and newspapers. At some point, it occurred to me that if I expected anybody to subscribe to The Atlantic -- which puts about all of its content online for free, and then some -- I should start subscribing to the magazines I really wanted to survive the recession. Karmically, and reasonably, it seemed like the proper thing to do.

I'm not saying this NYT decision sows the paper's destruction. But I hope the NYT finds it instructive and significant that it, as a newspaper with all of its own content online, has suddenly found paper journalism dispensable. Other NYC journalists surely feel the same about the Times. If there is a lesson here, it is that paper journalism can be dispensable -- even for journalists. It's time to start thinking about what that means in a broader sense than "Please put any newspapers or magazines that you care to contribute to our "share and share alike" system."